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tv   Hardball With Chris Matthews  MSNBC  July 7, 2010 12:00am-1:00am EDT

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interviews with amazing afghan police and civilians. see you again live from camp phoenix in kabul, afghanistan, tomorrow night. meanwhile, there's tons of ext footage and photos from this trip posted at maddowblog.msnbc.com. leading off tonight, steele kicking. the democrats woke up today thrilled to find michael steele is still the head of the rnc. for democrats he's the gift that keeps on giving. despite the fact some prominent hawkish republicans are calling for his dismissal, his job
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appears to be safe. plus, president obama's approval with white voters is plummeting. improving the economy may be the only way to get those voters back. is there anything the president can do to make that happen? also, payback time. the president was tough on wall street. now wall street is getting tough on them. a lot of democrats up there finding when they call wall street for campaign contributions no, one is home. and the oil spill. where have you heard this before? things aren't going so well in the gulf as expected. the giant skimmer deployed in the gulf, that i've been pushing for, that was supposed to scoop up all the oil isn't working as expected. is this nightmare ever going to end? finally, let me end with which party wins the white house in 2012. big surprise. i think you know who it is. let's start with michael steele. eugene robinson who loves this column is a columnist nor the "washington post." patrick j. buchanan is an msnbc political analyst. i don't know where to start
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except to say that this guy even on a bad news day is a good news story. here's michael steele last thursday at the republican fund-raiser in connecticut. he didn't know he was being taped. guess what, he was. let's listen. >> keep in mind again, federal candidates, this was a war of obama's choosing. this was not something that the united states had actively prosecuted or want toned gage in. well, if he's such a student of history, has he not understood that, you know, that's the one thing you don't do is engage in a land war in afghanistan. >> patrick buchanan, is there something about republican heads that they just don't move? are those people so inanimate up there when he said let me get this straight. this war was of obama's choosing. obama took us into afghanistan. i think it was george w. i'm not arguing about the war, just the history. how could they not move their heads slightly when he said obama chose to take us into that war?
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>> i don't think they were listening, chris. you've been to the contributor things, chris. they've all had a couple drinks and they're talking to each other. but you're right, yeah. on the facts, clearly michael steele was mistaken, but what bothers me a lot more is the immediate piling on by people like mccain and lindsey graham and bill crystal and the others who are wrong about iraq, and insisting now that if you don't support obama's war, you're somehow not a loyal republican. this is an attempt to impose an orthodoxy on a party on a war that the policy is going to be decided at a republican convention two years from now and an election even further away than that. >> well, hold that thought, pat, because it's my thought. that's why i want you to hold it. it is the hawkish people. it's not the party regulars, the ones who have to win money. it's not the republicans year in and year out. it's particularly the hawkish neo-con crowd raising hell about this. it's not the real republicans.
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let mccain talk and then eugene. let mccain talk. here's john mccain doing it his way on abc this sunday. let's listen. >> i think the statements are wildly inaccurate. there's no excuse for them. but the fact is that i think mr. steele is going to have to assess as to whether he can still lead the republican party as chairman of the republican national commit and make an appropriate decision. >> well, that's the warrior john mccain talking, not just the republican. your thoughts, gene robinson? >> first, i want to point out -- >> you're laughing. >> clearly a slip of the tongue by pat. he referred to it as obama's war. >> did he? >> yes, he did. afghanistan is obama's? >> yes. it was just a slip there. and he just misspoke. look, michael steele is not the gift that keeps on giving to the democrats. he's gift that keeps on giving to columnists, so he's got a slow day. chairman mike's got something to say.
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what he had to say was half ridiculous and half right. the ridiculous part was that this was a war of obama's choosing. >> wrong. >> wrong. that's ahistorical. that simply didn't happen. >> he also said, the second line was pretty good. this was not something that the united states actively prosecuted or wanted to get into. we were in war like seven years before he came into office. >> that's absurd and on that level almost obscene. however, the second part about doesn't he know about waging a land war in afghanistan? you know, alexander the great found out about that. the russians found out about that. >> that's true. >> the brits found out about that. that's true. that could have come from one of my columns. i can't argue with him there. however, he's got to answer to the likes of john mccain and lindsey graham. and this is a problem. >> let's watch lindsey graham. and pat, lindsey graham, all jumped in on that one. perfect timing for a gaffe which michael kinsley calls akin to telling the truth.
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here's lindsey graham on sunday. everybody was talking this sunday about this. here he is on cbs. let's listen. >> it was an uninformed, unnecessary, unwise, untimely comment i want to separate myself from that statement. the good news is michael steele is backtracking so fast he's going to be in kabul fighting here pretty soon. it's up to him to see if he can lead the republican party after this comment. i'm going to leave it up to the republican national committee. >> pat, a little mirth from lindsey graham on this front. you have the two hawks who have always been supporting the war. then you have ron paul. quote. here's his statement. i would like to congratulate michael steele for his leadership on one of the most important issues of today. he is absolutely right. afghanistan is now obama's war. michael steele should not resign. smart policies make smart politics. wow. i think ron paul is a lot more popular today than he was a couple years ago when rudy giuliani was pushing him around in all those debates, pat.
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>> exactly, when i say obama's war, it is obama's war in the sense that vietnam, jack kennedy put 16,000 troops there. after lbj had the gulf of tonkin and put 500,000 in there, we called it legitimately lbj's war. >> and then it became dick nixon's war. >> exactly. could you say that. let me say this. john mccain is maybe the titular leader of the republican party but he's been repudiated. the bush/cheney/mccain policy was repudiated in 2006, 2008. the idea that he and lindsey graham are imposing their hawkish views, you know, we are all georgians now on the entire republican party and we're disloyal if we oppose it is preposterous. >> pat, you are a true believer. let me ask you -- i'm going to ask the liberal columnist for the "washington post." who has the heart of the republican party, the hawks or the people who think that war has gone on too long for
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americans? that we've been in the war for nine years. now it's become obama's war. and they will take advantage of that fact. five >> i suspect pat is onto something. clearly the center of gravity among the elected officials, the pubahs of the republican party and those in washington and in the state capitol and those with further ambitions is to support the war. look at the support that obama is getting in congress, for war money and anything he wants to do basically. >> would you put this on the top of your bragging list if you were a republican running for congress this year? to say i dislike that war in afghanistan? >> no. i certainly wouldn't. what pat is onto and what chairman mike is onto there are there are a lot of republicans who question the war. just like a lot of democrats out there. >> why don't they talk? >> well, that's a good question. >> why don't they talk? why don't people like you, pat, traditional conservatives like barry goldwater who recognize
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the limits of american power in the world works don't think we should be the world's policeman and do not believe we can set up some sort of neo-colonial entity out there, new reign over there, why don't you guys talk? why do you let the hawks do all the talking? >> i wrote a couple of books "republic not an empire long ago." tony blankley, a conservative columnist as is kristol and george will is a columnist with hundreds of pages. you've got ron paul and joe scarborough on this network, a lot of anti-war conservatives and paleoconservatives, they don't get the attention that the neo-cons do, on the big papers, on the "washington post," "washington times" and "new york times" and there are people out there who oppose this war and they are the ones, chris works really object deeply to the fact that our patriotism is going to be addressed again if we don't go along with barack obama. >> well, i'm amazes that the cheney family seems to have a him graph machine in their basement and nobody in the family has a thought or wink or
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burp or a question on foreign policy, we know about it, so i don't understand what that family is. what's that crazy family, the munsters? does everybody have an opinion on war? by the way, let's -- >> now you've gone a bridge too far. >> i think you have. i think you have. >> let's stick with the cheneys, not the munsters. let's take a look at some of michael steele's greatest hits of the last 18 months. all comic relief. let's listen. >> like rush limbaugh who is the de facto leader of the republican party. >> no, he's not. >> i'll tell you what. >> i'm the de facto leader of the republican party. >> is there any professional jealousy? >> not on my part. what would i be jealous of? >> he's president of the united states. >> i'm chairman of the rnc. so, what's your point? >> do you think he could take over the house? >> not this year. >> you don't think so? >> well, i don't know yet because i don't know all the candidates. we still have vacancies that need to get filled. >> do you feel as an african-american you have a slimmer margin of error than another chairman would?
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>> the honest answer is yes. >> neil, have you been reading my press lately. i don't think the last thing you can say about me is i'm part of the establishment here. >> that's true, because everybody hates you. >> michael kinsley, 2002 rather, the guardian over in london said, quote, pat, a gaffe is when you tell the truth. >> a gaffe is when -- in politic truth and then you've got to draw it back but you've actually spoken the truth. that's what steele did in part of what he said here, chris, and i really do hope -- the republicans got in a fighting chance to get the white house. people like romney and sarah palin and the others don't get into this piling on steele because he's questioned this afghan war, and they leave this debate for the primaries. that could be two years off, a year and a half off and they not ought to lock themselves into a poll sit american people may not want by 2012. >> maybe they will be smart and let you speak at the convention. >> they did that once before, chris, and they don't think it was smart. >> thanks.
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thank you, eugene robinson, and thank you, if you want those tapes, i think they go back to 1929. >> tapes are great. >> houston, i think. up next, white flight. president obama's approval rating among white voters is heading south and it may take the democrats down with him. can he get the voters back? you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. ♪ ♪ i feel like bustin' loose, bustin' loose, now ♪ [ male announcer ] chips ahoy! crammed with real chocolate chips... there's a lotta joy... [ man ] hey! ...in chips ahoy!
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welcome back to "hardball." just four months until the
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mid-term elections in november. they are coming up quick. the height of president obama's victory in 2008 lifted votes with him. now it looks like stormy waters ahead. look at our latest nbc news/ "wall street journal" poll. these numbers tell you quite a bit. a year ago president obama's approval rating among white voter who is will vote in these midterms, always older and whiter, if you will, 49% disapproval among white voters 40%. today approval down to one-third, 36% and 56% among white voters. should democrats be afraid, and does a no-growth economy make things that much worse? the "washington post's" chris cillizza joins us and jonathan alter has a new book out called "the promise." it's a hell of a book. it's causing a lot of trouble for obama. he and joe biden seem to have different views about the outcome in afghanistan. that said, let's talk unemployment in the situation.
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look at the disapproval numbers among whites. chris, just so our people at home understand why we're doing this. why are we singling out white voters as opposed to minority voters and why is it significant? >> first of all, chris, white voters always make up a large majority. electorate, but small differences matter, especially in low turnout mid-terms. in 2008 white voters made up 74% of all voters. in 2006, the last mid-term before that, 79%. so white voters make up a bigger proportion of the electorate in mid-terms traditionally. if you move that out, you're talking about 3 million more white voters, if it's like 2006, than if it's like 2008. with president obama's numbers, like you just showed, like that with white voters in, a lot of these rural midwestern districts, it's going to be a harder sell unless his numbers can bump up a little bit there. he's not going to win them. he came closer to winning white voters than john kerry did, than al gore did. all that said, he needs to be
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above that 39% that you just cited. >> john, we have a lot of viewers out that that came out of nowhere to vote for obama last time. they may not always vote. younger voters, younger white voters, minority voters may not always vote. got out for this guy. they wanted him to be president of the united states. he is president of the united states. these are troubled waters in terms of the economy. will they get out the vote this november to offset this advantage among white older voters? >> you know, we don't know the answer to that, but if we just go back to the 2006 totals, those were very good for democrats. that was a very, very good year for democrats, so they can have this same percentage of the white vote turning out and do fine, but they have got to get these independent voters. i see it less as a racial white minority thing than independents versus democrats. obama will do fine with hard core democrats. the democratic party will do fine in these mid-terms. of course, obama is not on the ballot himself with hard core democrats.
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it's the independents that they are losing. he's got to get them back. he's got to get into the game of stigmatizing the republicans. you know, i remember from the roosevelt years, from studying them, roosevelt with delight would talk about martin, barton and fish, you know. he'd really go right after the republicans. well, you've got a barton there right now, and obama is starting to go after him. >> i agree. >> why not barton -- >> he's biggest bp defender. >> barton, boehner and bp, you know. just go right at them. >> well, here's the question about what he can do a blame game right now, chris cillizza and that's the question. will the country listen to barack obama if he starts beating up -- i agree. i think the republican leadership is pretty hard to defend. mitch mcconnell says vote no, obstruct, obstruct, obstruct. john kyl is a wild hawk, eric cantor a young richard nixon basically, and you've got boehner who looks like a golf guy that just blew a putt. not exactly the most exciting
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positive group of people but yet they are not running for office this time. the people voting negative on a bad unemployment situation, chris. they don't like the high unemployment so they will vote for the out party. is there anything barack can do that b that, the president? >> well, he can hope that -- look, the unemployment rate is not going to drop significantly. it may drop some. it's not going to drop to 5%, chris. you and i know this and i certainly don't have a degree in economics but everybody who does says it's unlikely what. he has to show is movement in a semi-positive direction can. he show that? >> can he get it down to 8? no. >> is it a referendum or is it a choice in the white house think it's a choice. people don't like republicans. that's different than 1994. remember, republicans had been out of office for 40 years. the public was willing to give him a chance. just fired twice in a row. 2006 and 2008. they have bad numbers, so is it a choice or is it simply, you know what? democrats control everything. we want a little bit of balance. >> that's the problem.
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>> let's put republicans in and see what they can do. we don't know the answer to it. >> they have to -- >> john, i like your -- i like offering voters a choice. >> yeah. >> do you like the rs or do you like the ds? but you know when you walk in a voting booth you vote an impulsive yes or no. i like the way things are going. i'm going to vote for the party in power. i don't like the way things are going. i'm going to vote for the party out of power. you only get that one vote. yes or no. it's hard to vote no you don't like the way things are going and still vote for a democrat that time. isn't that the hardest thing to -- >> you can vote no on a return to the past. >> that's not how people vote. they vote on the president. >> you can nationalize an election in a lot of different ways. the idea that democrats should give up on nationalizing this is ridiculous. of course you want to go for the local angles where you can to keep your guys in power. >> okay. when is the last time -- when is the last time a party has been able to run against the party that's not in power? >> look. it's very, very hard. >> '34. >> '34, you know and 2002 are
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the only times in 100 years where the people controlling the white house has won the first mid-term elections, so they are not going to gain seats. it's a question of limiting the losses, so to say to educate the country that if the republicans take control, this guy joe barton becomes head of all energy policy. >> yeah. >> from the congress. >> that's a good idea. >> that is guy who wants to apologize to bp, and he's going to be running our energy policy. >> okay, okay. >> do people know -- do people know who joe barton is. >> you have to explain it. you have to educate. that's up to the president. >> let me run this by you, chris cillizza. an absolutely objective reporter. you have no opinions on anything. i know this is true. >> thank you. >> you're completely clean of any opinion or beliefs. okay. here's the question. can barack obama between now and late october before the elections, november 2nd, can he run pictures of top republicans like barton and boehner and those guys and say vote against this crowd.
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they are a bunch of burbers, business rich guys, all with corporate interests, can they make them the bad guys and at least cut their losses, john says? can they do it? it's never been done? >> i'm skeptical of it for one reason, because most people in the country in this country don't know who joe barton or john boehner are. can you argue that this is indicative of what the republican party will do and i think the dnc and individual candidates will make that case but republicans tried to make elections about nancy pelosi for a very long time and not a lot of people knew who she was for it to work. >> chris, this is about the president acting as party leader which he has been reluctant to do. >> i agree. >> if he really wants to go out there and turn joe barton into a household name, he started to do it in his radio address last weekend. he does it five more times in five more radio addresses, gets out there and makes quips about him, everybody will know who he is. >> blue skying this. do what olbermann does, worst person in the world, go after the top four republicans, blast
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away and maybe it works. >> that's what harry truman did. >> he did -- >> in '48. run against the congress, run against the republicans in the congress. they are extreme enough. out of the mainstream enough that it is possible and worth a try for the democrats. >> it's hard to do when you control both houses though and -- well, you don't control the supreme court. anyway, thank you, chris cillizza. i hear one argument here which is to run against republicans and your argument, chris, just take your lumps, right? >> i just think -- john is right. it's an issue of limiting loss. dnc, democrats, the white house are going to try to do it by recreating in some way that 2008 coalition of african-american voters, hispanic voters, young voters. >> okay. >> anybody they get in there helps, but the electorate, the composition of the electorate will make it tough and history suggests they are headed for losses. >> thank you, chris cillizza and jonathan alter. jonathan's big book, "the promise." got it treat about obama. up next, the end of the road for former ohio congressman jim traficant. we'll tell you why he's
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finished. you're watching "hardball" on msnbc. ♪ [ male announcer ] this is our beach. ♪ this is our pool. ♪ our fireworks. ♪ and our slip and slide. you have your idea of summer fun, and we have ours. now during the summer event get an exceptionally engineered e-class for 1.9 percent apr or lease one for $689 a month. for 1.9 percent apr how do i know if i'm getting a good deal? you should talk to the specialist. the specialist? he compares rates side by side. you could save hundreds. it's easy. great. okay, pickles! do your thing. [ bell rings ] that's amazing! i trained him myself. i meant the... okay. same coverage, more savings. now, that's progressive.
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back to harsh and now to the sideshow. first, alvin greene's campaign goes even deader. greene's the south carolina senate candidate who won last month's democratic primary with no prior experience in office,
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no staff, no campaign, period. now for the latest bulletin courtesy of the associated press. state line, manning souk. two weeks ago, greene asked the same ap reporter he'd welcomed into his home to leave, saying he was a busy man and repeating go, go, go, go while avoiding eye contacts. a phone call to arrange an interview later that day was met with a gruff request to return a week later at 1:30. when the appointment time arrived, greene wasn't there. please come back when i'm not here. sounds like major, major, major in catch-22. next, the comeback comes to an end. ex-ohio congressman jim traficant just released from federal prison last year has been ruled ineligible for the ballot this fall. traficant had been hoping to make his return to congress as an independent candidate. the election board ruled that he fell 107 signatures short of qualifying. he had over 1,000 signatures ruled invalid.
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finally, a campaign flashback to the 2008 primary fight followed hillary clinton all the way to a town hall in the republic of georgia yesterday. watch what happened. >> i saw two women wearing t-shirts from my presidential campaign which reminded me, if i needed reminding, that i ran a very hard race against president obama. i tried with everything i had to beat him. many people around the world have said, well, how do you be a political opponent and now be working with your former adversary? but there's a very simple answer. we both love our country, and in a democracy there comes a time when politics stops and governance must start. >> well, good for her. that was hillary clinton at her best. time now for the big number. one of the more notable quirks of the 111th congress, that crowd of senators that weren't elected. they were just appointed to office. all in all, how many do we have right now? we have half a dozen senators who weren't elected, michael
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bennet, kirsten gillibrand, ted kaufman, roland burris, george lemieux, and there needs to be a senator appointed in west virginia to replace robert byrd. six appointees in the united states senate not elected. up next, the oil is still leaking into the gulf. is there anything that bp can do to clean up this miss or stop it? this is "hardball" only on msnbc.
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the justice department has filed a lawsuit challenging arizona's tough new immigration laws. the feds say immigration laws are their territory. arizona says the feds aren't enforcing the ones already in place.
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new orleans officials say tar balls are now showing up in lake pontchartrain. the obama administration has improved and at cutting coal burning emissions by at least 50%. the power grid is holding despite a second day of record-setting pitchers. he said the falls are shy of those that led to a blackout in 2006. when elizabeth visited ground zero during her first trip to new york city in some 34 years. when the low and is headed to the big out. a judge in california ordered her jailed for 90 days for missing alcohol education classes. that was in violation of her probation. back to hardball. welcome back to "hardball." well, it's day 78 of the oil spill disaster and still no good news. tar balls have now hit texas, and a huge converted super tanker, it's called a whale,
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there it is, has been deployed in the gulf to skim up oil. so far it's hard to tell if the skimmer is any match for the oil. john hofmeister joining us and mike papantonio filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of fishermen and others affected by the oil spill in the gulf. you have been recommending we get a skimmer in there. a big oil tanker to go in and skimming up the oil off the surface. is it working, this big whale we have out there? >> well, there's two different ways to use a super tanker. one is skimming, which we see see apparently the results over the weekend were inclusive because of the wave action, and can you understand why it needs a still body of water if you're going to be skimming off the surface. the part that hasn't been used yet is called the suck and salvage method where you're actually putting pipes down in the water and sucking oil out of the water once and for all it. sucks, salvage and separate, and
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that hasn't been tried yet. it's been discussed for over two months. still hasn't happened. i'm glad to see the super tanker and the skimmer out there, but i'd rather see more super tankers with the suck and salvage method as well. >> is that suck and salvage method, the kevin costner method? >> yes, but it's a much larger scale. kevin costner's product is fairly small, does so many barrels per hour. this would be big super tankers that have multiple pipes hanging off the sides sucking simultaneously. >> yeah. we're looking at it. well, it looks like it's working in this depiction, but do you know if it's ever been proven to work on a large scale like we have in the gulf now with 60,000 barrels a day having accumulated over this 78 days? >> well, the only story i've heard is one that's denied in the persian gulf. it's denied by saudi arabia, and i don't know if that took place or not. with the closed media over there, some things happen that you never know about, but it's alleged that there was a major spill this, method was used and it worked.
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>> let's go to mr. papantonio, you're an attorney for the people hurt down there. what is your sense of the efforts of bp so far to clean up this mess? are they trying as hard as the people care they are trying to do this job of getting this collected that's coming out? still, every second at the rate of 60,000 barrels a day? >> chris, to put that in perspective, this super tanker hats capability of sucking up 21 million gallons a day. let's compare that to bp's pr flotilla that in ten weeks has been able to get a whopping 28 million gallons. there's a reason for that, chris. right now you have tony hayward on a whirlwind tour around china, lib yeah, wherever he can go to raise cash for this company. the reason he's doing that is because he wants this company to look more attractive. you have to understand. that is company that you had moody's and fitch's drop their bond value to just above junk value. so what are they doing to us? what does that mean to us on the coast? here's what it means. they are cutting back.
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rather than bringing in these super tankers like john was talking about ten weeks ago, about ten weeks ago, they tried to put on a pr scam to where they put 1,000 people on the beach with a shovel and a bag and make it look like they really care. here's what's really happening. they put dispersants on the oil, it sinks to the bottom, and you know what, the oil doesn't come up for another year. bp has a clear plan here, chris. it is to amortize their cleanup cost over 10 to 15 years, rather than doing it in 18 months. >> that's a fancy word for postpone. right? >> exactly. they want to spread it out. justice delayed. you're the attorney here. justice delayed is justice denied. is that what's going on here? they're going to let this mess sit out here for years because it's good economics for them? that's what you're saying. and do you have any evidence to back that up? do you have any evidence to back up that charge? >> well -- yes. the evidence is this. the evidence is clear.
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we know the super tanker can take 21 million gallons a day. and that it can keep it from getting to our beaches. what they're counting on is let it come to the beaches. they don't care about pensacola or they don't care about mobile. they don't care about the coast because all they want to do is put people with a shovel and a bag out there to make it look like they're a caring, compassionate company and really all it is is cost benefit analysis. they care about the bottom line. they care about cash. that's what this whole thing is about. >> i'm going to go back to john and then come back to you, mike. there's a word out there, i got it over the weekend, that maybe this talk of $10 billion in escrow is just talk at this point, that the law states that this company only has to pay out 75 million, under the law to the statutes. that hasn't been changed. this side deal with the president that was done sort of extra legally, if you will, has no binding legal power. do we have any evidence, john hofmeister, that bp is going to
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pay out anything like $10 billion to the claimants that are represented in some part by mike? >> i think that bp is very concerned about losing their license to operate in the u.s., and the u.s. is one of the most -- one of the richest sources of future earnings growth for bp as a company, so i think there is a moral commitment, as i understand the white house deal, that i think it's 20 billion, chris, that the 20 billion set aside, 5 billion a year for four years. >> is that legal? >> no, it's not legal. >> john -- >> it's not a legal agreement that i november but it's a moral commitment and i don't see them backing away from it if they want to continue operating in the u.s. >> are they going to change the statute and raise the capital that can be grabbed from that company or not? >> let me tell you this. we're kidding ourselves about the $20 billion. you know what i learned last week in a meeting up in new york with the people who were in charge of trying to distribute this money? the money is not even securitize. as we sit here, if this company
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moved into bankruptcy tomorrow, there's no security interest that the u.s. government has in that money. secondly, $20 billion has not been escrowed. there hasn't been money escrowed at this point at all. so as we sit here, and it's kind of like having a shiny thing out there, this shiny thing is making us believe that bp is on top of this financially, but you asked the question is this money securitized, and they are going to tell you no because that's what they told me last week. they told eight major law firms that are involved in this litigation. i looked across the table, and i asked the man directly is this money securitized? the answer was no and the air went out of that room because we know, when you talk about moral obligations with a company like this, it's meaningless. it's absolutely meaningless. >> let's keep working on that one, because i want to make sure from a tv point of view if we have any point of view that the moral obligation holds water. let's go to this question of the relief well effort. john, based upon your expertise, do you have confidence that the relief well which we're told as
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of today and the wire services it's a week ahead of schedule, have you any assurance that it's going to reach target and going to relieve this problem by mid-august as they claim it will by bp? >> no assurance, chris, but it's got to be tried. i mean, they have tried every other option. they have got to try this option. and they will try right through to the second well, second relief well. if that doesn't work, then they are back to what do we do now, and i think that's what we're into a serious question of imploding the well at that point. they are talking about siphoning the oil through a pipeline and making use of it, but i just don't see that happening in the time frame. i don't think the american people can stand more months of this gushing. i think imploding the well, if the relief well doesn't work is a better option. >> and the assumption is that the pipe down there, that the well is solid enough, if you jam it at that point where they intersect, we're looking tat right now, the relief well intersects the initial well. the well is solid enough at the base down there it will hold. that's the assumption that it
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won't blow apart down there below that line? >> that's the assumption, and that's why i'm not giving it -- i'm giving it i hope a 50/50 chance at least, but there has to be something for the cement to hold on to, and if -- if the casing has been destroyed, if the outside of the casing is actually a channel flowing oil, then they are really in bad shape, and i don't know how they get enough cement pressure on to it to make it stick. >> and what happens to the responsibility of this company, mike, and you're litigating this thing. what happens to this response if we're looking at 60,000 barrels a day, hard to imagine not just 78 days but perhaps going into the hundreds of days, because nobody knows when the pressure is going to equalize down there. when it's going to stop flowing naturally out of that hole. >> chris, i'll tell you -- >> no one knows that yet. >> at this point there's no way to put a projection on this and that is what bothers everybody. look, if this goes bad, you're talking about 2 billion -- 2 billion gallons of oil moving
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into this gulf. now, if that happens, there is no -- bp has no plan. hayward can do his world tour. he can go to china, libya, saudi arabia and ask for cash. they are not going to be around. and i've got to tell you something. people are not paying enough attention to that. i'm hearing on the coast where the company is meeting with bankruptcy lawyers at the same time they are telling us everything is okay. >> well, the fascinating news is that the stock value of bp has gone up today, so that's what's happening economically with that company. who can figure. thank you very much john hofmeister. great to have you pushing with us. really rely on you and mike papantonio, thanks for joining us, too. the democrats cracking down on wall street. they are doing it next week. the bill is going to pass that. support is drying up. they don't like to be policed up there apparently what. are the democrats going to do if the wall street backlash means no more financing for the 2012 election? you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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well, big wall street donors are revolting against the democratic party because of their push for financial regulation reform up on wall street. contributors from banking and huge hedge funds and executives are down 65% from two years ago, so what does the fund-raising backlash mean for democrats come november? mark halperin ought to know. he's a msnbc senior political analyst. mark, you're aboard our operation now. let's goo to the toughest question. here's a seedling of a question. why do ritual street guys give the democrats? their self-interest is in no regulation. their self-interest is in lower taxes. they're making a ton of money. they're making it fast. are they just democrats because they grew up democrats? their mom and dad were democrats, and now they are reaching a crisis in their lives and realizing their self-interest is republican. >> they were falling in love with obama, and now they're falling out of love with obama. it's one of the most interesting
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psychological and sociological political stories going today. first of all, a lot of reasons they go for democrats. they're the party in power. in a war that was not popular in wall street in iraq and ran up big deficits. i don't think there's one reason. obama is also great in manhattan living rooms, and that helped him. bill clinton was the same way. they could go into salons and just court people with their charm, their intellect, their ay league degrees. >> but isn't it true that what they really want on wall street is lower taxes and less regulation? >> there's great frustration within the administration. people say the country wants regulation on wall street. these men and women got rich, you know, they deserve whatever they get out of this bill. there are those that think this administration is almost a crisis not just because of the
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campaign contributions. if the president wants to move his agenda, immigration, energy, more on the economy, he's going to need the support of people not just on wall street but in the wider business community. right now, you're right. they're thinking about their self-interests and administration officials are frustrated. what should we do? cut our taxes they say. >> you hear these stories like i do, mark. we all hear them. the president doesn't have any warmth for israel and business people generally. he's a liberal, progressive. he looks out for the palestinians, he looks out for poor people. he doesn't have any sympathy for rich guys. yet, you know, in the democratic party you have to get your money from these guys, so you have to make friends with them personally. you make personal friendships. is this the conflict between -- he's acting those people to be traitors to their class basically, and they're tired of it. >> they think he should wear a bar ray and standing off playing hackie sack. >> what does that mean? you got me there. >> check with the junior staff there.
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that's what they play during the breaks. he did not have relationships with ate lo of business executives when he was a senator. he does not have a reservoir of good will, and it's when widely said there are not a lot of people approximate with ties to the business community. so now you find the same thing. anybody that traveling around the country and talks to people, they not only they ice too liberal they don't think he knows a thing about the economy, and that's a dangerous thing. as i say, any democratic president has a high hurdle. bill clinton knew this and he worked it hard with bob reuben and others. he constantly thought how do i keep the pentagon and business community on my side. this president is in a dangerous place with the business community. this bill will push democrats further away from the white house. that's dangerous for campaign contributions and his agenda. >> just predict this between now and november, he has to play the blame game.
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he has to blame it on somebody. blame it on wall street. blame it on business. the more he does that, the more he's a populist, the more he's williams jennings brian out there. that causes more anger out there? >> it causes anger. he's not demonizing him every day, and he's not a i'd-eyed liberal. if he says now one sill bell, he's on triple probation with wall street. if he says anything or proposes anything or uses a word choice they don't like, they're acutely sensitive to that. when he does this signing ceremony for this reregulation bill of wall street, you can bet that big republican fund-raisers are up in this neighborhood in manhattan going to people saying, see what the president di he's blaming you. the money will flow less to the democrats and more to the republicans. >> the big problem is the country doesn't like wall street.
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they're mad at them. they're always mad at the rich guys when times are bad. they don't mind them when times are good, but when times are bad they don't like him. his politics are clearly in a blame game atmosphere. if you go out to kansas, colorado, anywhere in the country, you want to blame the rich guys. you want to be a real roosevelt out there. if you say that's going to cause more trouble in fund-raising. thank you, mark, for jumping in here. when we return let me finish with thoughts about the decisive issue of the obama presidency. one number. the unemployment rate. you're watching "hardball" only on msnbc.
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the unemployment rate. want to know something? when jimmy carter beat gerald ford in 1976, the unemployment rate was 7.8%. when ronald reagan beat jimmy carter the unemployment rate was 7.5%. when bill clinton beat the senior george bush the unemployment rate was 7.4%. what does recent history suggest that high unemployment mean you get booted from the american presidency? yes. but the but was 1984 when the rate was almost as high as thee numbers. it was 7.2%. having come down from double digit levels the year before. it was truly mourning in america because it had been a nightmare so recently.
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here we go. it's july 2010 right now. we have two and a half years to go until november 2012. if barack obama can get unemployment headed dramatically down from now from the current 9.5%, people will forgive him for up around 7%. if not, history shows they will not forgive him. the only question is whether the republicans can mount a credible candidate to run against him. this is the republican formula. high unemployment and holding and a credible candidate for president. think of richard the iii. my kingdom for a horse. if they have a horse and obama has high unemployment, bet on the republicans, that's what history teaches. find a means to get the american economy on a growth arc. get people buying in business investing again and get the wheel of capitalism turning again and get the command for goods and services rising. if that doesn't happen all the republicans need to do is find a horse to find a good candidate. that said finding a horse in a party right now divided by tea

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